Tonight we will finish chapter 24 by reading verses 29-51. When Christ comes back to gather and receive the faithful, there will be no mistaking it. Verses 29-31 tell of a glorious return for Jesus, coming with angels and the great sound of a trumpet. Neither the sun nor the moon will give off light and the stars will fall. There will be no doubt as to the import of the event.
Jesus uses the parable of the fig tree to show how people will know when the time is coming. Just like we can tell the seasons by the activities of a fig tree, these signs will indicate the second coming of Jesus. Verse 34 is particularly interesting: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” This verse could mean one of the two following things, or both:
1. The generation that is living at the time of the events described in verses 29-31 will not die off until Christ has returned
2. The generation of God’s chosen people, the Jews, will not cease to exist until Christ has returned
The main point of verses 36-44 is to stress how important it is for all believers to be ready for Christ’s return. No one, not even Jesus, knows the time of His return. Just as there are today, there will be many people who will be living their lives normally and without care right up until the time of Christ’s return. Ignorance will not be an excuse because the people who believe in God will be taken away to meet Him and those that who are not believers will be left in the world. For if everyone knew when the Lord is returning, all would be pious at the time of His return and their righteousness would not be borne of a true desire to obey God, but would come from a desire to save only themselves, excluding the obedience God asks of us. God wants our righteousness to come from our hearts, out of a desire we have to please Him.
The final verses of the chapter are further commentary on the way that believers should live their lives before the Lord’s return. It is a dishonest obedience that only obeys when it is being watched. How could God take us seriously unless we are living faithfully for Him all the time? By remaining faithful always, no matter what happens, we will secure our place in heaven. If we remain strong before God, we will not only please Him but will also serve as examples to our friends, family and those that observe us.
Living for God is simple, but it is not easy. Dedicating yourself to Him is difficult, but it will be worth it. We are none of us perfect, not even close. We will fail and we will disappoint ourselves and we may disappoint our loved ones. However, if we have a faith that is strong and that is convinced of God’s presence and his offer for salvation, we will persevere. We will continue to serve and seek the Lord until His return!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14